Mid-morning light casts long shadows across November-fallen leaves. Although lacking in foliage during this pre-winter month, Colorado State University’s Oval remains a prominent campus landmark. Designed in 1909, the Oval serves as an entry-way between the outside world and campus life.
Lined with American Elm trees, one long narrow sidewalk heads South to the steps of the iconic three-story Administration Building. Another strip of concrete stretches diagonally across the ellipse of green lawn. A final sidewalk stretches the smaller length of the Oval, perpendicular to the tree-lined path.
Warm sun beats down on bundled up students walking to and from class. Political science major John Mulnix recalls the summer months when he use to kill time on the oval.
“I used to read out here between classes in the summer. The shade was refreshing, and it’s a perfect place for a nap too,” Mulnix said.
A place to study, a place to nap, a place to play, a place to dream. The oval is held close to every Ram’s heart.
“My favorite thing about the oval is that there is always someone out on it either having fun or looking comfortable,” said Claire Clemens, junior international relations major. “It’s special because of the sense of comfort and unity that it brings to CSU.”
The Oval is special to all at CSU be it current students, faculty, or alumni. Cara Neth, director of administrative communications, remembers the oval during her time as a student at CSU.
“When I was a student walking to class, I’d trudge across it in the snow or lie on the ground when it was warm to read between classes, never imagining that I’d one day get to have an office that looks directly down the middle of it,” Neth said. “I have the best view on campus, but I actually have my desk facing away from it or I’d spend all day photobombing the graduation and wedding pictures that are constantly being taken right outside my window. It’s wonderful, actually – you really feel connected to the heart of campus with this view.”
A squirrel darts in front of a bikers path. The Around the Horn bus squeaks to a stop at the far end. A train cries in the distance, warning all to run across Mason St. before it’s too late.
Look up. Black branches contrast a clear blue Colorado sky.